The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA)
5 minute read
14 Jul 2020
9:30 am

Why maths really does matter: Possibilities to the power of 10

The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA)

10 reasons why maths matters.

iStock

Ask any of your friends and you’ll get a lot of negative answers and hatred for maths.

I bet at least one of them will tell you something like “I don’t know why I learnt Trigonometry at school, I’ve never had to use it”.

But here’s the thing you need to realise about maths… And something we need to relay to our children.

Maths really DOES matter.

Why?

Because not only does it impart the critical skills children will need to survive in the world but NOT doing pure maths can also put serious brakes on their earning potential once they enter the world of work.

So if you’re struggling to help foster a love for maths in you child and are stuck with helping her make an informed decision between taking maths or taking maths literacy, why not share the following facts:

Maths helps develop essential problem-solving skills:

Because you’re constantly dealing with tricky topics and problems, maths helps develop better reasoning abilities than just about any other school subject. Having good reasoning skills means your children will have the ability to think logically about a situation – something the business world really values.

You can’t go anywhere without running into maths

We live in a mathematically-driven world. Maths is all around you and knowing maths can help you understand the world better.

Just look around you: You can’t go anywhere without running into some related to maths. Bees, for example, are masters of geometry. You only need to look at their beehives to see that. Or how about the fact that the Fibonacci sequence lies at the very heart of the designs of seashells, pinecones, flowers, trees and more; while Pi is found in the very fabric of life… From the way an embryo’s cells divide to a Zebra’s stripes, these seemingly random things are encoded by the constant of Pi.

It’s the one language everyone speaks

Have you ever gone somewhere and not been able to understand what the people are saying? Or worse, not been able to read the road signs because not only are they written in another language, but they use a different alphabet as well? Confusing isn’t it.

This doesn’t happen with maths. Yes, even though its mostly numbers, equations and Greek letters, people understand maths the same way all over the world. This means that it doesn’t require anyone to translate it. That’s pretty cool. And it’s one of the things that makes maths such a powerful tool and essential life skill.

Maths makes you more interesting

Does your child love music? Is she great at sport? Does he want to be the next winner of MasterChef? Good news – maths can make your child better at all of the things you he loves to do. Geometry and trigonometry, for example, are proven to help you work out the best way to hit a ball, make the back of the net or run around the track; fractions and algebra, on the other hand, can help you bake and play a musical instrument better.

Every career needs maths

It goes without says that mathematicians, scientists, engineers, IT experts and chartered accountants rely on mathematical principles to do the most basic aspects of their work. But they’re not the only people who need maths to do their job. From sales assistants who operate the cash register to people who work in a factory and even those who write for a living, all of us need must be able to do maths to keep track to keep track of things, solve problems and do their day-to-day work.

Need more evidence?

Think about this…

  • Studies show that it’s better for you to get 40% in maths than it is to get 100% in maths literacy. Why? Because it’s harder to get into university if you take maths lit. In fact, you’ll need an A or level 7 pass to enter most university programmes if you pass matric with maths literacy.
  • Jobs in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields are growing much faster than other careers. This means more jobs are available in STEM fields than in any other.
  • People who work in STEM fields such as engineering, accounting, medicine and others earn significantly more money (on average about 26% more) than people in other job types – regardless of their education level.
  • As a STEM university graduate, you’ll earn a higher first salary than a university graduate who isn’t in this field.
  • STEM fields have significantly lower unemployment rates. That means you’re more likely to keep your job if the economy is in trouble and companies are forced to make job cuts.

So there you have it. Yes, maths is hard. But it’s well worth it for all the benefit it’ll give your child when they leave school.

About SAICA

SAICA, South Africa’s pre-eminent accountancy body, is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading accounting institutes. The Institute provides a wide range of support services to more than 46 000 members and associates who are chartered accountants [CAs(SA)], as well as associate general accountants (AGAs(SA)) and accounting technicians (ATs(SA)), who hold positions as CEOs, MDs, board directors, business owners, chief financial officers, auditors and leaders in every sphere of commerce and industry, and who play a significant role in the nation’s highly dynamic business sector and economic development. Chartered Accountants are highly valued for their versatile skill set and creative lateral thinking, that’s why the top 100 Global Brands all employ Chartered Accountants*.